1 EAGLETON NOTES

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Snails and Slugs

It is probably too dramatic to describe the quantity of snails and slugs in the garden last year and now as of plague proportions but it's been pretty near to that.  After the amount of damage last year and after having resorted to slug pellets (which I really hate using because I don't really like killing anything - apart from wasps) I thought that the weather conditions which led to the large numbers were so different this year that things might have changed. Not at all.

A couple of weeks ago some Redwings popped in on their migratory route and in a few minutes two of them had demolished a lot of slugs in the grass at the back of the house.

 

However what has really puzzled me is the fact that snails always go upwards when it gets very wet. I recall them being collected in the rain when they crawled up the houses in Italy. So finding this one having a drink in the pond was one thing:


 But following this snail trail and finding one in the stream was quite another:



  Anyway a couple of days ago I decided to have a snail hunt and this was my haul:


Since then it's only been about half a dozen a day. I'm hoping that I can keep them under control this year.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Emotionally Drained

Apart from my times in New Zealand when I posted on my other blog this is, I'm pretty sure, the longest period between posts since i started this blog in 2007. 

I've been very busy helping my son get his house finished. It's nearly there. I've also been working on my own house in my 'spare' time.

Yesterday was the turning point.

I'm in Glasgow for a few days and yesterday was one of the most emotionally charged days I can recall for a long time.

The first thing I did was take my beloved Nighthawk to be sold. As she sat there all valeted and gleaming at the Car Auction I steeled myself to walk away. Writing this (after the rest of the day) I want to go back and bid for her, ask for her forgiveness, and take her back to Lewis for a long and happy retirement. As it is I can only hope that her new owner gets as much enjoyment and is as happy with her and as good to her as I have been.


In the afternoon a couple of friends and I travelled over by train to Edinburgh (an impossible place in which to park a car) to see an exhibition of Joan Eardley's paintings at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two). 

Then we went to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre to see Matthew Bourne's ballet company perform his production of The Red Shoes. I love ballet and have done ever since I saw a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the Royal Court in Liverpool as part of the Commonwealth Arts Festival in 1965. In New Zealand we used to go to (and I have blogged about) several productions each season at the Napier or Hastings theatres. I've been to far too few productions in the UK. 

Even if one does not like ballet I challenge anyone to go and see yesterday's production and not be moved. For me it was one of the most magnificent, dramatic and emotionally challenging ballet production I have ever seen. The standing ovation was well deserved.

We all arrived back at Anna's in the hour before midnight. Cheese and wine appeared as if by magic and disappeared down grateful throats as we reminisced on a wonderful afternoon and evening.  We eventually made way to our beds and slept....and slept.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Sporting Weekend

I really have little interest in watching sport. There are a few exceptions which I do try and watch and enjoy: the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races (brilliant now that the ladies race is given as much TV time as the men's), the Grand National and The Golf Masters from the stunningly beautiful Augusta National Golf Club. 

Having been born in Liverpool it's inconceivable that I wouldn't have come into contact with the Grand National. Almost everyone used to have a flutter (usually as a member of a workplace sweepstake) and may, so far as I know, still do. My family made a (minor) killing in 1956 when E.S.B. won the race. My maternal uncle's initials were E.S.B. Enough said!

This year I knew one runner: One For Arthur and I knew about him because he was the only Scottish trained horse in the race and the owners, registered as Two Golf Widows, managed to make the Scottish news before the race. 

I decided to have a flutter and then realised that to do so I'd probably have to set up an online betting account so abandoned the idea. It's a shame because my intended £10 would have netted me £140 which would have provided a case of an acceptable red. Hey ho.

Then on Sunday night I stayed up to watch the enthralling final round of The Masters where the last people on the course, Justin Rose (England) and Sergio Garcia (Spain), battled it out and at the end of four rounds and 72 holes were level so went to a sudden death play-off. They are friends and their respective partners (wife and fiancĂ©e respectively) were very obviously friendly as well. I would have been very happy for either to win but Sergio in his 74th Major event managed his first Major title. 

There was an added poignancy because it would have been his fellow Spanaird the late Severiano "Seve" Ballesteros's 60th birthday.

I was pleased that he won. However what was really heart-warming in this age of business which is called sport was the wonderful attitude that the defeated Justin Rose displayed.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Where is Adrian When He's Needed?

It's probable that CJ will identify this Diptera but if Adrian had still been in Blogland I'm sure that he or one of his readers would have been on the case tout de suite. My best guess is a Cynomya mortuorum but I could be way out. Diptera are really not my strong point. It was on a Grape Hyacinth in my garden today.  I thought it was rather beautiful.